Record-Hot West Sees First 100-Degree Temperature of 2015; More Record Heat Ahead (FORECAST)

By Linda Lam and Nick Wiltgen
Published Mar 29 2015 11:23 AM EDT

Record Breaking Heat in the West

The heat continues for much of the West. Temperatures well above average will continue in the region.

The hottest weather so far this year has arrived in the West and will continue through early this week in the Southwest. Thursday brought the year's first triple-digit temperature reading anywhere in the country when Death Valley, California, logged an official high of 101 degrees. On Saturday, Death Valley topped out a degree higher at 102 degrees.

(MORE: Warm Winter in the West)

A ridge of high pressure is responsible for the record warm temperatures that we have seen in the West. While generally above-average temperatures will persist in the Southwest into the upcoming week, a Pacific cold front and an attendant southward dip in the jet stream should knock temperatures back at least to seasonal averages in the Northwest, northern Rockies and northern Great Basin by Tuesday.

Below is a look at where more records may fall in the days ahead.

Record Warm Temperatures Continue


Sunday's Forecast Highs and Departure From Average


Forecast Highs Next Three Days


Forecast Highs
Warm weather will dominate the Rockies and High Plains over the next several days.

Various warm-weather records have already been broken in the West, particularly in California over the past few days. Scroll down to our recap section at the bottom for a breakdown of these impressive new records.

Here's a look at the potential for additional record-breaking temperatures the next few days:

Temperatures will remain 10 to 20 degrees above average throughout much of the West, but not quite as warm in the Rockies and High Plains.

Record highs are possible in Phoenix (95 degrees),Albuquerque, New Mexico (81 degrees) and Las Vegas (86 degrees).

In addition, those seeking relief from the heat at the beaches will find a high rip current risk for much of southern California through Sunday afternoon.

Highs will be 10 to 20 degrees above average across much of the West.

Record highs are possible in Las Vegas (88 degrees), Sacramento, California (83 degrees),Phoenix (97 degrees) and Boise, Idaho (79 degrees).

The warmth fades way in the Northwest. Locations from Arizona and New Mexico northward to Montana remain 10 to 25 degrees above average.

Record highs are possible in Salt Lake City, Utah (78 degrees), Cheyenne, Wyoming (74 degrees), Albuquerque, New Mexico (81 degrees) and Phoenix (94 degrees).

(MAPS: 10-day Forecast)

Warmest March on Record

Many cities are currently experiencing their warmest March on record and this comes after many locations in the West experienced their warmest winter on record.

(MORE: Warmest Winter for These Cities)

As of March 25 the following cities have seen their warmest March on record (their monthly mean temperature, the average of all the daily low and high temperatures for the month of March, is in parentheses): Los Angeles Downtown (67.7), San Diego (66.1), Santa Barbara, California (61.5), Long Beach, California (66.5) and Yakima, Washington (48..

Salinas, California, is also experiencing its warmest March on record, with an average temperature of 61.4 degrees. Earlier this month, the city set its all-time record high for the month of March, hitting 92 degrees on the 14th.

In addition, Salinas also recorded its warmest January and February on record, so the first quarter of 2015 is well on its way to crushing the all-time January-to-March record set just last year. Thursday marked the city's 12th day with a high of at least 80 degrees this year, doubling the previous record of six 80-degree days in the first three months of 1954.

Salinas has had a top-10 warmest month every month since July 2014, including a record-warm December 2014. Temperature records for Salinas began in 1931.

The forecast through the end of March calls for the above-average temperature trend to continue in California and the Desert Southwest, so many more cities will likely be added to the list of record warmest March.

Unprecedented Frequency and Intensity for March Heat

Downtown Los Angeles reached 92 degrees Thursday and 91 on Friday, marking its fifth and sixth 90-degree days this month – a record for March. The city has now doubled its previous record of just three days, which it broke earlier this month with a four-day run of 90s March 13-16.

San Diego hit 84 on Thursday, setting a new record of six 80-degree days so far this March. The old record for March was five such days in 1947 and 1988. A seventh 80-degree day came Friday as San Diego soared to 82 degrees just after noon.

(MORE: Earth's Warmest Winter on Record)

In addition to Salinas, mentioned above, several other cities have broken all-time record March highs during this month's multiple warm spells.

Fresno hit 91 degrees back on March 15 to set its all-time March record, then reached 91 degrees again Friday. March monthly record highs were also set Friday in Sandberg (83) and Paso Robles (93).

Paso Robles broke the March record Friday they tied one day earlier (91 degrees).

Back on March 14, Santa Maria tied its all-time March record high of 95, while San Jose set a new all-time March record of 89. Just south of San Jose, Gilroy tied its all-time record high of 90 on both March 14 and March 26.

Further east, Phoenix officially experienced the hottest day of the year on Friday when the thermometer reached 98 degrees at Sky Harbor. The March record high for Phoenix is 100 degrees set March 26, 1988.

On Saturday, a daily record high temperature was set in Billings, Montana, when the thermometer hit 80 degrees. This reading also became the earliest 80-degree day on record for Billings, and is a tie for the March record high for the city. Miles City, Montana also tied its all-time March record high of 83 degrees.

Daily record highs were also set on Saturday in the Southwest, including Las Vegas (91 degrees) and Phoenix (95 degrees - tie).